Thursday, March 31, 2011



A celebrity chef shares the inside scoop on the bad old days of the New York City restaurant scene.


KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL is just fun to read. Bourdain tells stories about his life behind the culinary scenes, and what he reveals is surprising. He describes the heady, unhealthy life in a professional kitchen that mostly revolves around sex, drugs, and food (not necessarily in that order).

The fast-paced, dangerous work environment is home to what Bourdain describes as the rejects of society: high school dropouts, alcoholics, illegal immigrants, and anyone else who is willing to do the work, obey the chef, and not complain about burns and bad manners. Such an environment provides ample material for Bourdain’s vibrant storytelling.

Bourdain’s prose is sharp and conversational. He plays around with words with dry humor and a worldly air. He includes plenty of mouth-watering descriptions of food, in addition to shocking revelations about the standard practices of a busy professional kitchen.



Currently listed at $10.35 for the Kindle edition. I think I paid less than this when I bought it a few months ago.


What is the most difficult work environment you have encountered? How did you handle it?


  1. I love your picture of the market! I remember seeing all kinds of fantastic and interesting things when we visited China many years ago- you will have to write about them.

  2. One of my favorite books! As someone who worked a lot in restaurants, Bourdain's honesty and humor makes this book so amazing. I especially think his passion for food comes across in an engaging way. Thanks for reminding me of why I love this book. =)

    I wrote a post a while back about Bourdain, as well:

    Thanks again!

  3. I've had this on my shelf since I read A Cook's Tour a couple of years ago. Thanks for reminding me-- I think I might pick this one up soon.

  4. I love behind-the-scenes memoirs like this. Although I don't think I'd like to know exactly what goes on in a restaurant kitchen . . .


  5. Thanks everyone! This is definitely a fun book and it made me hungry even though I don't always want to know what's going on in the kitchen.

    Bookspersonally, I am writing about my experiences in Hong Kong. I'll share more on that soon.

  6. +JMJ+

    I agree with Trish that behind-the-scenes memoirs are especially interesting. Although I dine in really classy restaurants only a few times a year, even I am fascinated at the idea of what goes on behind those swinging kitchen doors. (Shannon, did you ever come across an article with the title "Twenty Things Your Waiter Will Never Tell You" or something like that? My eyebrows stayed up for hours! LOL!)

    The most difficult work environment I ever experienced was a private school that was intensely centralised and bureaucratic. The principal insisted on putting her signature on everything. It doesn't sound so bad, but it was quite demoralising. I handled it by focussing on my students as much as possible . . . but that only made me fall further behind on the paperwork. I ended up resigning and looking for work elsewhere. =S


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